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To the fans of all things extraterrestrial, this one's for you. We kick off this special edition of Funky Friday by saying this may be light years away (aka, not gonna happen,) but if your network of SciFi buddies pitches in, you may just see the opening of The UFO Hotel.
Is anyone surprised? We figured it was only a matter of time before there would be a close encounter of the hotel kind. Except that this kind involves some home grown alien crowd-funding.
The UFO Hotel is the brainchild of Luis Ramallo, UFO enthusiast and owner of popular road stop Alien Fresh Jerky in Baker, California. Baker is small community in the Mojave Desert, conveniently situated along the Los Angeles – Las Vegas route, so there should be no shortage of guests, whether die-hard science fiction fans, or just plain curious.
Just in time for the fourth installment of Transformers movie, comes a hotel suite that is perfect for Autobot or Decepticon fans of all ages. The Asahikawa Grand Hotel in Hakkaido, Japan has transformed one of their Grand Deluxe twin rooms into a suite decked out in everything...well, Transformers.
Even just the basic theme is perfect for the younger fans since guests will be able to sleep under a character comforter, watch classic cartoons on a Matrix of Leadership-style monitor and play with plenty of toys from Bumble Bee to Megatron. Some of the room art has been swapped out from the hotel's usual Japanese garden scenes to action shots from the movie featuring fan's favorite characters.
Google Glass / Google Glass Hotels / Geek Hotels / Hotel Bars / San Francisco Hotels / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
We thought it was cool that the ACME Hotel in Chicago was offering Google Glass as an amenity for guests to borrow during their stay but in San Francisco, the odds of guests already owning Google Glass are much higher. So the newly relaunched Stanford Court Hotel decided to offer a free drink to anyone who walks into the Aurea Lounge wearing Google Glass and subsequently uploads a photo to social media with the hashtag #stanfordcourt.
The new management at the hotel (you can read about the new hirings here) said they wanted to do this because, "of the recent string of negative press" against Google Glass. Hmm. So far this is the only tweet with the appropriate hashtag that we've seen. We can't tell if this person was wearing Google Glass or not. We think not.
Google Glass / Google Glass Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Geek Hotels / Chicago Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
Billed as a "lifestyle boutique hotel alternative," the ACME Hotel in River North has a hip, young—dare we say "alternative"—way of doing things.
First, there are blueberry-lavender "doughssants" in its coffee shop and a bar made out of leather belts in its lobby. Then, there's the technology. If you thought the Smart TVs and loads of iPod docking stations were cool, wait till you hear what the hotel is doling out now as a guest amenity: Google Glass.
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If you’re not only a hotel geek but kinda a science geek too, you probably already know that March 14 is Pi Day (because the mathematical constant π, or Pi, which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, is approximately equal to 3.14, but with 1.2 trillion digits after it).
If you didn’t know that, you might want to know this: Some hotels are using this as an excuse to bring out their best pies for the occasion. And who doesn’t like a nice pie?
The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC is offering a scrumptious-looking Apple Pi Tartlet (that's it above) that’s made with 3 Pi (9.42) Granny Smith apples. The tartlet is topped with decorative apples made of white chocolate—can you stand it?
Bitcoin / Bitcoin Hotels / Geek Hotels / Viva Vegas / Las Vegas Hotels / Downtown Vegas Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
We thought Bitcoin, the open-source internet currency, was over…as far as using it to pay for hotel stays. Indeed, the Howard Johnson hotel in Fullerton, Calif. that we spoke to back in 2011 stopped using it after the Bitcoin market crashed.
But today Bitcoin is back and is now accepted in the one city where money talks--Las Vegas.
Two Downtown Vegas hotels--the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino will begin taking Bitcoins starting tomorrow, including the front desk for each hotel and the D's gift shop. You can even use Bitcoin to pay for Coney Dogs at American Coney Island and steaks at Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse. Here's how it will work:
Bitcoin purchases at the casino hotels will be processed through BitPay, a service that streamlines transactions using tablet and mobile interfaces. Tablets programmed with BitPay will be installed at each cashier, allowing Bitcoin users to easily pay for services using their mobile wallets.
Derek Stevens, CEO of the D and Golden Gate, said the hotels began accepting Bitcoin due to "guest demand." Hmm…while we like how Stevens took initiative, guest demands sounds unlikely. After all, do you know someone using Bitcoin? Seriously, do you? Ok, maybe some of you do. But most of us just know about Bitcoin from its Wikipedia page.
Nonetheless, one Bitcoin equals roughly about $822 and considering that rooms at the D start at $22 tomorrow night, if you're in possession of just one Bitcoin, then you can go wild in Vegas.
Every time a cool new app comes out promising guests to check-in or check-out via their phone or table or use their handheld as a room key, we always wonder how much longer it will be before human hotel staff become obsolete. Well, at The Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel in Shenzhen, China, that time is here.
The Nanfang Insider reports that the hotel is nearly entirely staffed by ROBOTS. Robots greet you at reception and at the front desk and even serve you drinks and food in the lobby lounge. However, there are some humans on hand in case the service, um, short circuits.
As for the rooms, they cost just $11 a night because as the hotel name suggests, they are capsule rooms. These tiny little pods are tricked out with blue mood lighting, WiFi, flat-screen, ports galore and according to this pic, the privacy to view some adult movies on your iPad.
[Photo: Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel]
We've long fantasized about keyless hotel rooms where we could use our smartphone instead of a key card to enter the room. But the Hotel Alma in Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter is going way beyond that with a fingerprint recognition system.
It works like this--you arrive to check-in and in addition to collecting your credit card for incidentals and telling you about the room amenities (free WiFi, breakfast and access to the spa are included), the hotel takes a scan of your fingerprint. Then you can use your finger to open the door to your room at any time. No key cards needed and no worries about the card getting demagnetized in your purse or wallet. So. Cool. And it's also available at the hotel's sister hotel in Pamplona.
Of course, you can opt for a regular key if you think is too fancy for your tastes but we think it's a no-brainer. Rooms at the trendy, high-tech boutique hotel start at about 200 Euros a night. The hotel's website also has a voyeuristic video showing a hunky grey-haired "guest" (an actor, we think) doing various things in his room--waking up, putting on his shirt (!!!) and sitting down at the desk to do work. Hopefully, the fingerprint access will keep out peeping Toms.
[Photo: Hotel Alma/Facebook]
You know how much we love cool hotel technology here on HotelChatter but today we're spotlighting some hotels that go far beyond offering giant flat-screen TVs, bedside control panels, TVs in the bathroom mirrors and even gold iPads. While we've yet to find a hotel that allows guests to borrow a pair of Google Glasses during their stay, these hotels are truly forward-thinking in their amenities and their experiences,except for the one that offers a cassette tape player in the room. But we had to include that one. We had to!
THE SCI FI HOTEL
Whatever sci-fi fantasy tickles your pickleperhaps plugged into the grid like in "The Matrix," abducted and organ-farmed by aliensthe 9hours Hotel in Kyoto, Japan is about as close to it in real life as you can get. The property is a simple, nearly windowless building in an alley near Kyoto's Kawaramachi Station and, like other Japanese capsule hotels, it specializes in giving the weary worker or traveler one solid night of bare-bones rest in a sparkling clean, sex-segregated environment.
Unlike other Japanese capsule hotels, however, it's prime focus is on good living through good design. Alarms are soundless; ambient lighting gradually awakens the sleeper without disturbing other capsules. Pajamas and basic toiletries are provided, and the WiFi is free (but kept out of sleeping quarters). We paid 4,900 JPY ($48) just a few days ago and would do it again, sci-fi fantasies or no.
THE AV GEEK HOTEL
Speaking of capsule hotels, Japan has actually expanded upon the concept to create a small chain of sleeping pod rooms called The First Cabin. Modeled after the semi-private quarters of airplane first-class suites, each guest is assigned one room identical to the rest. Inside is a large Sony flatscreen TV (only watchable by using the provided noise-cancelling headphones so as not to disturb others), pajamas, basic toiletries, a lockable storage drawer and several power outlets and free WiFi.
Since it's a chain, we chose the Osaka location as the geekiest owing to its libraries of manga novels and its location near Dotonbori, a mecca for foodies. Even better is they're growing; First Cabin currently has branches in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo's Haneda Airport, but this June they'll debut in central Tokyo's Akihabara district, a name synonymous with "otaku" or geek culture. Rates start at 3,300 JPY ($32) in Osaka and only 2,800 ($27) in Kyoto.
The next time you find yourself at a Hard Rock Hotel or Casino or Cafe, take a moment to look around and enjoy the TVs and digital signs. Seriously.
That's because Hard Rock has partnered with moving image exhibitor Microcinema International to create mesmerizing digital moving image art that is synchronized with the popular hits playing in the hotels (or cafes) from classic rock jams to today's latest
Bieberpop hit or the latest in EDM. It's kind of similar to the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas that are synchronzied with classical music, except instead of shooting water canons, you see trippy digital art keeping the beat on the TVs and other digital signs.
“As a forerunner in the curation and distribution of moving image arts, Microcinema is the perfect partner for Hard Rock International,” said John Kirkpatrick, head of music and artist relations at Hard Rock International. “Microcinema’s ability to understand our customer base and aesthetic approach produced impressive results and we look forward to continually evolving the relationship between music and visual arts together.”
Here are a few snapshots taken from a Hard Rock Cafe. Just imagine your favorite Rihanna track as you flip through the gallery, or better yet, the new Daft Punk album. #sogood.
All photos courtesy of Hard Rock Hotels
When Westin Hotels rolled out their rentable workspaces last May we were relieved to hear of a place where we could get real work done that didn't involve the endless grind of coffee beans or the perpetual smell of greasy french fries. The only bummer was that the workspaces, then called Project Hive, were available in just two hotels--The Westin Boston Waterfront and The Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel. But now that's about to change.
Westin has announced that they will roll out more of these cool workspaces around the world to more than 40 Westin hotels. They are also ditching the name Project Hive in favor of the moniker Tangent. However, the workspace concept will remain the same with each work zone featuring media:scape by Steelcase technology, video conferencing, TVs, printers, sound systems, Xbox 360s, floor to-ceiling whiteboards, wired and wireless internet for no additional fee and lots of outlets for all your gadgets.
What we like the best is the spaces can be booked by the hour at a moment's notice. Sayonara uncomfortable lobby seats, we'll be kicking it at Tangent.
[Photo: Westin Hotels]
Westin Hotels / Hotel Workspaces / Project Hive / Hotel Business Centers / Geek Hotels / Digital Nomad Hotels / → All Tags
Are you ready to dive into the hive?
Some good news for digital nomad tribes today--you no longer have to squat in uncomfortable hotel lobby chairs to get your work done.
Westin Hotels have announced a new business center concept called Project Hive and like its name suggests, the space is designed to help you and fellow worker bees be more productive. Even better, you can rent out these spaces on LiquidSpace.com without having to be a paying hotel guest.
The 260-sq.ft. hive (some are even smaller than this) offers all that you could want from an office setting including: media:scape by Steelcase technology with video conferencing and a four-person seated workspace; Samsung TVs, floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, printers, Xbox 360s for games and DVDs and even office supplies like pens and light refreshments.
Best of all, there is both wired and wireless internet available for no extra fee. And when you need a break from all the work, you can admire a large-scale wall mural in the workspace, designed by Westin's VP of Design, Erin Hoover and her team, which is derived from the Fibonacci sequence.